Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist of the National Retail Federation (NRF) confirmed that consumer spending from the latest data by the US Census Bureau remained steady despite “inflationary pressure.”

In April Kleinhenz believed the US economy would remain steady this year despite a slowdown in both gross domestic product (GDP) and retail sales growth.

The Census Bureau’s report revealed that overall retail sales in March surged by 0.7% when adjusted seasonally from February and recorded a 4% increase year-over-year, when unadjusted. These figures mark a notable uptick from February’s increases of 0.9% month-over-month and 2.1% year-over-year.

Kleinhenz explained: “While sales were mixed, several factors supported retail sales including an early Easter holiday, slightly larger 2023 tax refunds and stronger payroll growth over the last three months.

“Nonetheless, the increasing share of consumer spending going to services as prices for services rise remains a stubborn problem because it leaves less household income available to spend on retail goods.”

Delving deeper, March’s core retail sales, a metric defined by NRF excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations, and restaurants, experienced a substantial uptick. Seasonally adjusted, core retail sales saw a 1.1% increase from February and a robust 3.2% surge year-over-year, unadjusted.

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Furthermore, on a three-month moving average as of March, core retail sales exhibited a 3.9% increase year-over-year.

The CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, powered by Affinity Solutions, echoed these findings, reporting a “steady pace” of growth in the month’s sales.

The Retail Monitor indicated that core February retail sales were up 0.23% when seasonally adjusted from February, and a solid 2.92% increase year-over-year, unadjusted.